Donald Yates was my late mother’s first cousin. As I explained when his brother Robert died last year, they, their late older brother Raymond (d. 1978), and their older sister Frances were my mother’s closest relatives, though Raymond, the oldest, was a decade and a day younger than Mom.
They lived in Binghamton, until their dad Ernie died suddenly in 1954, when Charlotte and the kids moved to St. Albans, Queens in New York City. The Greens would go down and the Yates would come up at least annually. Their kids, including Don’s’s kids Donnie and Tanya, were the closest relatives my siblings and I had, even though they were a decade or more younger than us.
I don’t know about you, but I’m STILL recovering from the election. Oh, maybe it’s not just the election, maybe it was Leonard Cohen’s death, and Leon Russell’s and, interestingly enough, Gwen Ifill’s. When I heard the news about the PBS newswoman, I sobbed for twenty minutes, and I’m not even sure why.
Maybe it was because the electoral process often missed Gwen Ifill’s sagacity as she, mostly quietly, fought the cancer. Surely, it’s because, at 61, she was younger than I. Maybe it was seeing how her death affected others. Pete Williams, reporting on MSNBC, could barely get the words out without choking. Or maybe it was her calm in rough seas.